Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sargeist


Sargeist - Feeding the Crawling Shadows
W.T.C. Productions, 2014
Genre: Black Metal

1. Feeding the Crawling Shadows
2. In Charnel Dreams
3. Unto the Undead Temple
4. Snares of Impurity
5. Return of the Rats
6. The Unspoken Ones
7. The Shunned Angel
8. Inside the Demon's Maze
9. Kingdom Below
10. Funerary Descend





I feel like a new Sargeist appeared out of nowhere this year. Before we knew it, all of a sudden there was a new Sargeist release available. I really had no idea it was coming or that anything was even being worked on. However, the tall order to attempt to outdo "Let the Devil In" still stands. I think Sargeist knew this after they released that album and how critically acclaimed it was. Perhaps they thought they'd reached the pinnacle of that stylistic approach, but "Feeding the Crawling Shadows" feels like a rather different approach to the Sargeist style.

The riffing style and approach hasn't changed very much, but the atmosphere they've built on "Feeding the Crawling Shadows" is almost entirely different. It's not just because they're using harsh production to its full effect either. Here they've taken a step back from "Let the Devil In" and where that album felt immense and triumphant, "Feeding the Crawling" shadows feels extremely bleak and hateful. Rather than approach the riff structure as they had done before, here they will let sequences drone on at times, creating this layer of darkness that wasn't as present before. At points I feel like I hear some Katharsis showing through as on parts of "Unto the Undead Temple". Furthermore, I think they're trying to harness some production elements featured from Tenebrae in Perpetuum's style, but recast those approaches in the Sargeist style. The end result is, basically, an entirely different sounding Sargeist album. Which was a great idea, since perhaps there really was no topping "Let the Devil In", so the best thing to do was approach the style from a different angle. Another major difference that shows up here is Torog's vocal approach. Sure, he still uses the traditional high ranged rasp we've all come to love, but he also goes for a deeper commanding styled voice at times throughout the album. Similar to the chorus section of the song "Let the Devil In". For the most part this vocal approach works out very well, the one complaint I have is that sometimes its pretty loud in the mix and it drowns out the music. This was painfully clear on the opening song "Feeding the Crawling Shadows", so much so that it somewhat marred the enjoyability of listening to that song. As the album moves on, I feel like things get a little better... or I just got used to the production over time.

In the end, I'm not sure I think this is better than "Let the Devil In". It is tough to compare the releases on any level, as they are quite different. I think "Feeding the Crawling Shadows" is breaking new ground for Sargeist and they will, perhaps, have to run the same track and fully develop this edge into something as compelling and awe inspiring as "Let the Devil In". Only the future will tell, for now, I am glad to see this new track being developed. It could be an even stronger method as it develops further and it will be great to see that eventually happen.


Sargeist - The Rebirth of a Cursed Existence
W.T.C. Productions, 2013
Genre: Black Metal

1. Reaping with Curses & Plague
2. The Rebirth of a Cursed Existence
3. Sinister Glow of the Funeral Torches
4. Wraith Messiah
5. Cursed be the Flesh I have Spared
6. Vorax Obscurum
7. Black Unholy Happiness
8. The Covenant Rite
9. Dead Ravens Memory
10. Crimson Wine
11. Dark Embrace
12. The Crown of Burning Stars
13. The Moon Growing Colder
14. Nightmares and Necromancy

This isn't a new album, instead it is a compilation of a lot of songs that never made it onto albums over the years. Basically this is an updated version of the "Funeral Curses" compilation. The really great part here is that it is finally released on CD. Much of this material has never been released on this format before. "Funeral Curses" was a cassette only release after all. This release goes beyond the "Funeral Curses" material and puts all the splits and vinyl released after that compilation on this one. The other boon we get with this release is that it has all been remastered. So, now we don't have much in the way of production differences when it comes to the material released on the Merrimack/Sargeist split and "Lair of Necromancy". This is definitely an essential release if you've missed out on all the prior material not featured on full-lengths. The only split material not on here is the split with "Horned Almighty", but that is probably because it is readily available. The two tracks on here that I hadn't heard before is "Black Unholy Happiness", because that was featured on a compilation I never purchased and "The Covenant Rite", which was featured as a bonus track on the "Disciple of the Heinous Path" LP edition. Both new tracks are quite excellent, of course this is when Sargeist was basically in stride for how to write compelling and good Black Metal, so I am not surprised. "The Covenant Rite" probably could have worked well on "Disciple of the Heinous Path" and I'm not too sure why it was never included. Either way... this release is absolutely worth getting, even if you had all the vinyl and splits from before this.


Sargeist - Lair of Necromancy
Hospital Productions, 2011
Genre: Black Metal

1. Nightmares and Necromancy
2. The Moon Growing Colder














It seems that Sargeist is wasting no time in getting back to their release schedule of before. The year after "Let the Devil In" we have two new songs from Sargeist. Now, I don't know if these tracks were rejects from the "Let the Devil In" recording sessions, and given the way these sound, I wouldn't be surprised if they were. I'm sure this 7" is limited, but nothing is mentioned anywhere on this released.

I can understand why these tracks would not have been recorded on "Let the Devil In", if that is where they are from, they're entirely too fast and hard hitting compared to the rest of the material on that album. They melodies are also sort of different in feel. They are sort of reminiscent of the soaring epic nature found on the Behexen side of the Behexen/Horna split. There's also some rhythm sections on "Nightmares and Necromancy" that are extremely upbeat and that would have really ruined the dark atmosphere being generated on "Let the Devil In. Even though this may not really be the usual style for Sargeist, I did like the songs. I think "Moon Growing Colder" was a bit better than "Nightmares and Necromancy" though. I doubt these tracks are indicative of a future Sargeist style, instead I would suspect they are a sign that Sargeist is being a lot more strict about what appears on a full-length release.


Sargeist / Drowning the Light Split
Moribund Records, 2010
Genre: Black Metal

Sargeist:
1. Crimson Wine
Drowning the Light:
2. As the Blood Flows on...











Side Drowning the Light: ...coming eventually...
Side Sargeist:

I believe this split was supposed to be released prior to "Let the Devil In", but most of the dates I find say it actually came out in 2011. Even so, the date listed on the jacket is 2010 and the catalog number is before the catalog number on "Let the Devil In". Either way, this split comes as a 7" vinyl and is limited to 500 copies, but is not hand-numbered.

This material seems to definitely be considered between "The Dark Embrace" and "Let the Devil In". The material was recorded back in 2008, shortly after "The Dark Embrace's" release. So, in that context this material isn't quite on the same level as "Let the Devil In". Instead it is more like that earlier transitional state that we found "The Dark Embrace" sitting in. They are fleshing out their ideas in a much more solid fashion, but "Crimson Wine" doesn't have the same level of enthralling writing we saw with "Let the Devil In". Still, if you're a die-hard Sargeist follower, then this is certainly worth getting. "Crimson Wine" is hardly a bad song and it is very good for "The Dark Embrace" time frame.


Sargeist - Let the Devil In
Moribund Records, 2010
Genre: Black Metal

1. Empire of Suffering
2. A Spell to Awaken the Temple
3. From the Black Coffin Lair
4. Burning Voice of Adoration
5. Nocturnal Revelation
6. Discovering the Enshrouded Eye
7. Let the Devil In
8. Sanguine Rituals
9. Twilight Breath of Satan
10. As Darkness Tears the World Apart





It's always exhilarating to see a band you follow eventually create an album that is clearly reaching the pinnacle of their existence. I don't want to mean that everything will be downhill from here, but it certainly sets an extremely high bar in the bands direction. If they can keep this level of quality for future releases, we will be very fortunate listeners, but for some reason the first appearance of real artistic strength always remains special to me, no matter what band I listen to.

From the very first note struck we know we have something special on our hands. Forget prior Sargeist releases that had riffs that didn't ensnare you in the moment, "Let the Devil In" has absolutely no waste. Every note struck is magical and brings you into a world of dark melancholy. It truly is a beautiful release in the grand scheme of things. Listen to how well crafted "From the Black Coffin Lair" is, its, honestly, one of the finest Black Metal songs ever composed. Even the catchy chorus of "Let the Devil In" works very well with their style, and this is something I would not have thought would work with their sound. Torog's vocal work feels a lot more thought out this time around. His vocals mesh with the riffing a lot more seamlessly this time, really setting this album as a full package that was very well cared for in composition. This release is very hard to describe beyond the normal description of what I've said about Sargeist. The core essence of their writing hasn't changed, what has changed is the way they've crafted and arranged things. Every element is perfectly tempered seeking a certain level of quality, that, maybe, they'd never reached for before.

Few albums in 2010 could top this release and this is an album I return to again and again. "Let the Devil In" just has this timeless quality to it, where you know it will be an incredible album for years and years. It will be impressive if Sargeist can build something beyond this exquisite crafting, but it will be tough to top. The collection of songs on here reaches such a high mark, that I don't see it being done for quite a while at last. They have certainly come a long way since the early days of the project. People who complain about modern Black Metal are obviously not listening to this band or album.


Sargeist - The Dark Embrace
Moribund Records, 2008
Genre: Black Metal

1. The Dark Embrace
2. The Crown of Burning Stars














This is shocking news. In 2007 Sargeist didn't release any material!! I know, I feel speechless. There wasn't some grand full-length waiting in the winds, unfortunately, instead they've returned with a two track EP. This 7" vinyl is limited to 1,000 copies, but it is not hand-numbered on the jacket.

I think this is some more of the more newly composed material. Sargeist certainly still have that spark that was lit afire during the "Disciples of the Heinous Path" recording, but I feel that the songs on "The Dark Embrace" are actually more well crafted... if that's possible. Prior to this there were always some lulls in Sargeist's material that sort of droned on, or were overshadowed by the really stand-out riffs... on here, though, the material is meshed in a much more cohesive fashion. This is only serving to make me even more excited for another full-length from Sargeist. I feel they're really starting to harness their power even more than before. So, here's hoping that "The Dark Embrace" is a sign of things to come.


Sargeist / Bahimiron Split
Obscure Abhorrence Productions, 2006
Genre: Black Metal

Sargeist:
1. Dead Ravens Memory
Bahimiron
2. The Raping of Flesh











Side Bahimiron: ...coming eventually...
Side Sargeist:

Keeping up with Sargeist's demanding release schedule 2006 brings us this 7" vinyl split with Bahimiron. Its limited to 1,000 copies, though a limitation is not referenced on the actual release. It's a gatefold styled packaging, which is quite nice.

"Dead Ravens Memory" sounds like it could have come right off the "Disciples of the Heinous Path" album. The core riffing has this catchy feel to it that really draws the listener in, but it really maintains that melancholic aspect that makes their style so intoxicating. It doesn't say when this track was composed, so it does make me wonder if this is a more modern song. If it is, it doesn't seem they have lost the direction since 2001's writing at all. There are some riffs on here that aren't as stand-out, but that is because, I think, they are overshadowed by the really spectacular elements. I still look forward to what Sargeist has in store for us next!


Sargeist - Disciple of the Heinous Path
Moribund Records, 2005
Genre: Black Metal

1. Black Treasures of Melancholy
2. Remains of an Unholy Past
3. Cursed Blaze of Rituals
4. Disciple of the Heinous Path
5. Heretic Iron Will
6. Echoes from a Morbid Night









I don't know what happened with Behexen, Horna, and Sargeist, but all the albums released around the 2005 time are some of the best material from the projects to date! "Disciple of the Heinous Path" is really where Sargeist started to hammer home the style they were going after. "Satanic Black Devotion" was just the beginning on that road and with the new album they've really upped the ante and solidified their writing style.

Despite this material sounding so good and fresh, the liner notes say this was written back in 2001. It kind of makes me wonder if they've just written all this material and are sitting on all this amazing work. Listen to that opening guitar line on "Remains of an Unholy Past". It is one of the finest guitar lines around and just sounds amazing. This whole album has a sort of melancholic element, that is just doused in sheer evil which results in an album that has a rather epic quality to it. "Cursed Blaze of Rituals" is a slow plodding song that bears elements of Bathory's "Equimanthorn" at times, however, Sargeist's approach is markedly much darker. "Echoes from a Morbid Night" is an incredible closer to this album and it has some of the finest riffing ever featured. Sargeist has really hit a high point with this release!

Given the time the material was composed, its hard to say "I like this direction Sargeist" is heading in... since it seems they went in this direction years ago. It does make me wonder what their future holds at this point. This is an excellent album and if you've enjoyed "Satanic Black Devotion", you will simply love this release. For me, this is really where their career starts to take-off and now I listen with rapt attention to whatever they release.


Sargeist - Funeral Curses
Adversary Productions, 2005
Genre: Black Metal

1. The Rebirth of a Cursed Existence
2. Sinister Glow of the Funeral Torches
3. Reaping with Curses & Plague
4. Cursed Be the Flesh I have Spared
5. Vorax Obscurum
6. Wraith Messiah










This is a really interesting compilation, especially if you are somewhat oblivious to a band's involvement in compilations like I am. The only limitation I've seen associated with this tape is 300 copies, I do not know if that is true or not. No limitation is listed anywhere on the release, but I am sure it is limited to something. This release is well done and features a pro-printed booklet with liner notes/cover on one side and lyrics on the other. The cassette itself is also pro-printed.

I like the way they've split up the tracks on this release. The first side is material recorded in 2002. The opening track is taken from a Woodcut Records compilation and is a totally new track. It definitely serves as a decent transition track between "Tyranny Returns" and the Merrimack split. The second is from another compilation and is clearly a re-recorded of "Sinister Glow of a the Funeral Torches", which was originally featured on the "Tyranny Returns" demo. The recording quality on this is a huge step-up from the original demo material. However, I'm still not sure it was enough for me to fall in love with the writing. Next we have the track from the Merrimack split, which is reviewed below.

The second side features material recorded in 2003. Here we start with a song that was released only on the "Satanic Black Devotion" vinyl edition. I can definitely see why this track was not included on the full-length. It really doesn't fit into the atmosphere or style being developed. Its a much more raw and vicious style of Black Metal and it relies more on catchy rhythms than melody to convey  the hateful attitude. The next track, "Vorax Obscurum" was featured on the legendary "Tormenting Legends" compilation. This actually fits with the bonus track from "Satanic Black Devotion" pretty well. Since Sargeist keep sort of returning to that raw crunching style of Black Metal, it makes me wonder if they will eventually just fall into that for an album. Finally, we have the song that was featured on the split with Temple of Baal, reviewed below.

This is a great tape compilation. I actually had no idea that Sargeist was putting out original or re-recorded material to the compilation community. So, its really great to see all this material I missed out on brought under a single release. I really don't have much of an interest in owning all these original compilations, so this is definitely necessary for my Sargeist discography.


Sargeist / Funeral Elegy Split
Paleur Mortelle Productions, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

Sargeist:
1. An Oath Sworn for the Holocaust
2. Hungering Thirst
3. Hateful Spirit
4. Lunar Curse
Funeral Elegy:
5. Dropped on Inferna
6. Black Desire
7. Baal
8. Dew of Blood
9. A Strife... a Victory (Kristallnacht Cover)





Side Funeral Elegy: ...coming eventually...
Side Sargeist:

Sargeist have, yet, another split released in 2004! I fear they may be heading in the Horna direction after all. This release only exists on cassette. It comes with a xeroxed cover and dubbed tape. Its fairly sought after because it is limited to 200 hand-numbered copies and I own #91.

This split doesn't contain newly recorded material from Sargeist, instead this is old previously unreleased material. It's sort of strange to listen to in that regard. It says the material was recorded in 2000, so this is prior to the second demo  and after their first demo. I wonder if this was meant to be the second demo... but instead they re-recorded material from the first instead. Its sort of interesting because the raw material on here sounds a lot more similar to what Sargeist would produce on the split with Merrimack than what they did with "Tyranny Returns". I actually think it has better production quality too. The Sargeist side finishes off with "Lunar Curse" which is apparently a song written in 1998. I do wonder if this is one of the earliest Sargeist songs written. Naturally this song is a very primitive song and has a far more intense hateful streak to it. It makes me wonder what the first Sargeist demo really sounded like, because I may have enjoyed this more than "Tyranny Returns" in some respects. Granted it is nothing original, but it doesn't sound bad at all. I'm, ultimately, glad this material finally got to see the light of day in some form or another.

Sargeist / Horned Almighty Split
Moribund Records, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

Sargeist:
1. In Ruin & Despair
2. Questing the Blessing of Evil
3. Profane Bleeding Call
4. At the Altar of the Beast
Horned Almighty:
5. Skullsplitting Manifest
6. Degradation Song
7. In Torture We Trust
8. To the Lords Our Lives






Side Horned Almighty: ...coming eventually...
Side Sargeist:

In the same year as the split with Temple of Baal, Sargeist brought another split into existence. This time with Horned Almighty. It seems this year is taking the route of splits rather than working on a new full-length. This time the split is pressed on CD and vinyl. The production on these tracks feels a lot more raw than the prior releases, which is interesting and actually doesn't really mar the music at all. I wish I could say every track on here was up to the same quality levels of the prior two releases, but there are songs on here that were just okay. The album starts strong with the song "In Ruin & Despair", which starts with an engaging melody for a while before the vocals ever kick in. This was great, because it sort of acted as an intro to their side, without actually making a separate track. It also allowed them to build into that riff, rather than just leaving it as an intro piece like too many bands do. The following track isn't nearly as interesting to me. "Questing the Blessing of Evil" is just a slow plodding track that, unfortunately, fell more on the boring side versus the droning and atmospheric. The third track falls more in the realms of Horna than Sargeist's usual style, so I'm not sure why that wasn't made into a Horna song. It has moments of Sargeist, but feels more Horna overall. This theme sort of keeps up with the final track too. So, in the end, we get a great Sargeist song, a not so interesting song, and two mostly Horna styled tracks.


Temple of Baal / Sargeist Split
Grievantee, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

Temple of Baal:
1. Bitter Days
Sargeist:
2. Wraith Messiah












Side Temple of Baal: ...coming eventually...
Side Sargeist

It seems Sargeist might be afflicted with the same disease Horna is. Writing more material than you know what to do with then releasing more splits than is possible to collect. Okay, Sargeist aren't that bad with these types of releases. Here Sargeist turns to France once again to find a bland to split with and they really have chosen to work with two stellar French projects already. Hopefully this is a sign of splits to come! This split is a vinyl 7" limited to 500 copies, or so some sources say. The limitation actually isn't listed anywhere on the release. There's not much beyond the 7" with this release. Lyrics are printed on the back of the sleeve, but there really aren't any liner notes either.

Sargeist bring us one new track and its clearly in the vein of "Satanic Black Devotion". Naturally, if you enjoyed that album, I can't imagine why you wouldn't enjoy this song. Sargeist show they are capable of writing on the lengthier side with this song being nearly seven minutes in length. Longer track times seems to work pretty well with the Sargeist style and it really allows us to fall into their melancholic yet hateful styles. Definitely a solid track worth having for the Sargeist fanatic.


Sargeist - Satanic Black Devotion
Moribund Records, 2003
Genre: Black Metal

1. Preludium
2. Satanic Black Devotion
3. Obire Pestis
4. Frowning, Existing
5. Glorification
6. Panzergod
7. Black Fucking Murder
8. Sargeist
9. Returning to Misery & Comfort






After hearing the split with Merrimack I was pretty excited to hear what Sargeist had in store for us next. What we get is an incredible new full-length. The prior split was, indeed, indicative of the direction Sargeist would be taking on this future release. However, this is so much more than just being like that original song.

It also seems Sargeist have gone through some serious line-up changes. Shatraug no longer bothers to hide his identity in the line-up, and here we see two new members round out the group. He looks to the already known finnish band Behexen to help with the missing musicians. This is the blend that brings Sargeist to perfection. Here I really think Sargeist blends the work of Horna and Behexen together, and while some of my readers may wonder if that's overly redundant, it really isn't. It brings us a really different and really interesting atmosphere. It really has that oppressive dark atmosphere of Behexen and the hateful melodies so sought after in the Horna style. The Black Metal atmosphere that gets constructed is unlike anything the two bands are striving for. Bringing in Hoath Torog on vocals was a really smart move and he really rounds out Sargeist's sound with his incredible rasps.

"Satanic Black Devotion" is a little odd in some respects, because for the most part it is this wonderful experience between melody and darkness, but with the song "Glorification" things get a little heavier. This keeps up through "Panzergod" and reminds me of the more grinding Gorgoroth style Horna tracks that Shatraug has produced over the years. After this the album returns to the style we've come to expect on this album, hitting really high points with tracks like "Sargeist" and the catchy "Black Fucking Murder".

This is really a stellar album. I truly hope Sargeist see fit to produce this style to its fullest. Its a very different blend of Black Metal despite the clear influences being brought together. Naturally, if you're already a huge fan of Behexen or Horna, then Sargeist is a band you simply must listen to.


Merrimack / Sargeist Split
Moribund Records, 2002
Genre: Black Metal

Merrimack:
1. Guardians of Your Slavery
Sargeist:
2. Reaping with Curses and Plague












Side Merrimack: ...coming eventually...
Side Sargeist:

 It seems the first demo was enough to get the Sargeist project noticed by Moribund Records, who has agreed to released this 7" vinyl split. It's limited to 1,000 hand-numbered copies and I own #430. Its kind of incredible the changes that have undergone the Sargeist writing style. It seems an infusion of melody has really crept into their style a lot. Not to mention, I feel like they have also leaned in the direction of having a Horna edge in their sound, so maybe trying to sound entirely different from Horna wasn't working from them. Be that as it may "Reaping with Curses and Plague" is a very different Sargeist track and its wonderfully sinister with those hateful melodies being performed. This is really a stand-out transition for Sargeist and if they're going to head in this direction, Sargeist is going to be one hell of a strong Black Metal band in the future. We'll see what the future brings eventually...


Sargeist - Tyranny Returns
Warmoon Records, 2001
Genre: Black Metal

1. Preludium: Golden Seed of Father-Sun
2. Anti-Human Black Metal Wrath
3. Night of Sacred Wisdom
4. Dark Fortress
5. Scion of Glory & Pride
6. Interludium
7. The Impaler Prince
8. Sinister Glow of the Funeral Torches
9. Sworn by the White Wolves Blood
10. Iron, Blood & Blasphemy
11. Postludium: Silver Womb of Mother-Moon




"Tyranny Returns" is actually Sargeist's second demo and I have completely given up on finding their two dating back to 1999. Instead, the version pictured above is the re-release of the demo by Moribund Records in 2005. The original cassette was released by Shatraug's own label and limited to 222 hand-numbered copies. Shatraug isn't even named on the original demo tape, he goes by the name Lord Belethor Grimstein. On the re-release he is the only band member pictured and I have no idea who the other members were, but there seems to have been some falling out since the re-release states "No thanks to ex-members of those times, rot in heaven..." One of the reasons Sargeist started getting rather popular is because it was touted as a side-project involving members from the more well known Horna. It seems back in Sargeist's early inception perhaps they wanted that connection to be more hidden.

Despite the Horna connection "Tyranny Returns" sounds fairly different from what you would expect to hear from Horna in 2001. Sargeist seems to be more raging and primitive Black Metal. There are times when the Horna style shows up a little bit like in "Scion of Glory and Pride", but I think its fairly minimal overall for this demo. "Tyranny Returns" is probably a further evolution in the growth of the project and I can only imagine what the prior demo sounded like. I think they are still going through a bit of growing pains in the attempt to go beyond the Black Metal that has already been created. Some songs just don't fit with the overall demo at all like "Night of Sacred Wisdom", which sounds like some early 90's Black Metal with the old clean vocal style... I can't think of a project that comes to mind at the moment. Certainly not on the level of Ulver or anything, but more like Isengard maybe. Then later "Sinister Glow of the Funeral Torches" touches on a new take of the Funeral Dirge... which has been done too many times already. "Iron, Blood & Blasphemy" seems to herald back to the early days of Bathory and really stands out as disjoint from the rest of the songs. I feel as the band tried to write very differently from Horna, they have fallen back to the roots of the genre trying a large amount of different methods whether they seem connected or not.

I think if you like the every old style of Black Metal in the early 90's with the raw and harsh production, you may find this a more compelling release. This release didn't really stand out to me too much in the end. I feel like the project still needs to undergo a lot more evolution, but this is certainly worth hearing for the Sargeist collector. Its always worth hearing a bands origins for sure.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sylvus


Sylvus - Upon the Onyx Throne
Self-Released, 2013
Genre: Black Metal

1. Timeless, Lightless
2. Astral Genocide
3. The Beating of Black Wings
4. Ravens Cleaning Bones
5. Invoking Oblivion
6. The Denial of Transcendence
7. Empty Havoc
8. Onyx Throne








Here it is, finally arrived the brand new full-length from this great band. "Upon the Onyx Throne" really steps the bands art up in the right direction. Another thing I've been waiting for them to make is a real booklet for the cassettes! Here we not only have a cover design, but a proper booklet that is two sided and includes liner notes and at least one more picture of art, even if it is an animal skull. It still works great with the layout they put together. Anyway, the booklet is pro-printed and so is the cassette. I'm sure its limited to some small number, but the limitation is not listed on the release.

"Upon the Onyx Throne" is basically Sylvus' highest level of work. Here they blend together the atmosphere from the self-titled with the immense riffing of the EP. The end result is something truly compelling to listen to. They've even included two songs from the EP to be re-recorded here, one of which is my favorite song "The Beating of Black Wings", which does work amidst the newly written material. I feel like this recording of "The Beating of Black Wings" gives it a lot more of an atmospheric edge than the prior version. Even the re-recorded version of "Empty Havoc" sounds immensely more atmospheric than before. The opening song "Timeless, Lightless" is a really immense song and it seems they are drawing some serious influence from the Québec atmospheric scene. Some the guitar arrangements just sit in the wake of Monarque and Forteresse to a truly beautiful result. They even manage to include some really intense grinding riffs in songs like "Astral Genocide", which actually sound quite good blended in with the more atmospheric pieces. There isn't a single bad song on this release and every song is well written making this the best Sylvus recording for sure. If you've liked what Sylvus was producing prior to this, you'll be really stunned with what they put together on this release.

While "Upon the Onyx Throne" really hits an immense high point for the project, there is also a sad piece to be told here. Upon releasing this the band is now on hiatus. I spoke with Darcy about this recently and he mentioned how he was going out West to work on some personal stuff and I wish him well in that work. But it is still very sad to see his project hit this immense high point only to be put on hold. I hope the ranks of Sylvus will return in the future, regardless of how long it takes. I know that Anastasia is working with her project Sortilegia and hopefully that will be going strong in the future too. Still... I wish I had been able to see Sylvus live one more time before the project was put on hold.


Sylvus - Sylvus/The Beating of Black Wings
Self-Released, 2012
Genre: Black Metal

1. I
2. II
3. III
4. IV
5. V
6. Slaves to the Wyrm
7. The Beating of Black Wings
8. Empty Havoc
9. The Spiritlord (Windir Cover)







Here is a rare treat if you missed out on the prior two releases from Sylvus. This compilation is a cassette only release and is limited to 100 hand-numbered copies, where I own #84. The cover is essentially the same as that found on "The Beating of Black Wings", but this time it is cast onto a white background and is on a white dubbed tape.

Even though it is not listed on the cassette track list, this tape also has the bonus song of Windir's "The Spiritlord". Apparently this was recorded during the "Sylvus" session and was not released prior to this. I'm glad they've included it here, because they did quite a good job on covering a legendary band. So, if you've missed out on the prior Sylvus material, this is certainly worth checking out if you can track down a copy.

Sylvus - The Beating of Black Wings
Self-Released, 2011
Genre: Black Metal

1. Slaves to the Wyrm
2. The Beating of Black Wings
3. Empty Havoc













After a successful debut, Sylvus return in the following year with this three track EP. Released on cassette which comes with just a basic cover, no interior design, and on a black dubbed tape. This is limited to 100 copies, but nothing is listed on the actual cassette stating the limitation.

After a strong debut, I expected Sylvus to write some more solid material, though I am surprised they have returned with new material so quickly. The musical approach is fairly different from the debut and more focus is put on riffing that really stands out and catches the listeners ear. The cold atmosphere is still there, but it's just not as dense as the debut. To be honest though, I think this is more where Sylvus' sound is the most comfortable. Just the right amount of cold infused to give it an icy edge, but focusing on really interesting riffs to catch our ears. The opening riff of the title track just makes me stand at rapt attention. I really just want this riff to go on forever, that is how spectacular it is. Then it falls into a sort of early Satyricon style blended with a more modern form, which is just amazing to listen to. I first heard Sylvus in 2012 when I saw them perform live at Messe des Morts and it was this song that really struck a chord with me and I realized I needed to get this bands material. Ever since then I've been trying to get what I can of their material.

In the end this is an incredible collection of songs from the project. I really think this is bringing Sylvus in a much stronger direction for their sound and I really look forward to what will be released in the future. This EP is what really put Sylvus on the must hear map of Black Metal.


Sylvus - Sylvus
Self-Released, 2010
Genre: Black Metal

1. I
2. II
3. III
4. IV
5. V












Even though there are Sylvus demos prior to this release, this is really where my Sylvus collection begins. I think this is also where the band wants new listeners to start out. That is certainly understandable if they believe their prior material to be less than presentable or much weaker than their current incarnation.

"Sylvus" also strikes out as the bands debut full-length. I never was able to get a stand alone copy of this, but am reliant on the download from their website. This is unfortunate since owning a piece of music is important to me. Sylvus seem to be part of the incredible growth Canada is experiencing in Black Metal today. This really is a solid debut release, albeit it doesn't stray into really groundbreaking territories. It has a fairly older feel to the music due to its more primitive nature. This probably really fits in with the Sylvus concept of nature similar to the early Norwegian scene. So the riffing is solid and safe for the most part. The Sylvus atmosphere is very cold and the production really helps that feel. Darcy's vocals feel as if they are screamed from afar, but they are still solidly in the mix which really works well for them. "III" changes things up a little more by opening with a much Thrashier styled guitar line. This eventually breaks down into some very cold and dark riffing, which is where Sylvus seems to draw a lot of its presentation. I think the strong adherence to building that atmosphere is where Sylvus really does stand out as a band. Sure, it's a tried and true atmosphere, but they really did a wonderful job with it. Just listen to "IV" they really hit some serious atmospheric highs with the riffs on that song.

In the end this is a rather strong debut. They have all the necessary elements to compose great Black Metal, now we just need them to get to that level. The debut is very good, but that's all it sort of is for me. I didn't truly stand in awe of the creation... but as with many bands, I think Sylvus is on their way to potentially achieving that level of quality in their compositions.


Silexater


Silexater - Mad Sorcer
Self-Released, 1994
Genre: Black Metal

1. Nighthunting
2. Dreamwalk
3. Grimmiste Bâtâlie
4. Mad Sorcer
5. Bloodsigned Night
6. Cold Flame










Some old demos have been lost to history and I think Silexater is a band suffering from such a fate. I'm not sure Silexater were legendary in the overall scene, but they were certainly known to the early German scene. They are also known because they were also one of the earliest projects working with Malicious Records. In more recent times their material has been re-released under No-Colours Records, so interest has resurfaced.

Silexater didn't last very long as a project and only had "Mad Sorcer", basically a full-length, and an EP later. "Mad Sorcer" is basically the epitome of the one man band sound. In revisiting this early stuff, I'm not sure it really stands the test of time like some of the early projects do. The riffing is ultra basic and it comes as no surprise to see the likes of Vlad Tepes referenced in the liner notes. A lot of the tracks on here are very long which forces this tape to clock in at over forty minutes in length. The songs just aren't that compelling to warrant this. I think part of the problem is that there is very little use of vocals on the recordings, so the guitar work ends up feeling quite monotonous after a while. The title track actually manages to have reminiscent moments of Mayhem though. Then towards the end of "Bloodsigned Night" there is a truly spectacular sequence on the guitar. The part that sort of mars the recording at time is the programmed drums... at least these sound programmed to me. Limbonic Art and Mysticum have managed to put out stellar material with programmed drums, but Silexater only sounds okay. When he's using the standard Black Metal drum beats, things sound fine, but a few times when he wants to include a drum fill things begin to feel a little sloppy. As the album progresses I feel the drumming actually manages to get more solid.

"Mad Sorcer" is merely an okay piece of music. Despite its liner notes praising Dead and Euronymous, I feel like the neverending riffing is more like Burzum, only not as atmospheric. His vocals are quite a bit better than Varg's, which is one of the reasons I'm surprised they're used so sparingly. Silexater is an interesting piece of history, but I can understand why his creation has sort of been lost to history even there are some very good moments. If you're looking for something that sounds primitive and old then Silexater might be an unknown piece to check out.


Totenheer


Totenheer - Wüetisheer
BergStolz, 2013
Genre: Black Metal

1. Verachtung deiner Geburt
2. Pest - Prättigau 1629
3. So Mischt der Teufel die Karten
4. Phantom Beasts
5. Die Schwarze Flut
6. S'Wüetisheer
7. Kerker
8. Der Aussätzige








This is sort of a random purchase on my behalf. Totenheer are a new band out of Switzerland. Apparently starting in 2010, but they haven't released any material until this full-length. The cover of the album caught my eye at first and then I went and checked out some samples. They sounded like a fairly solid Black Metal band and worth checking out in more detail. I've really enjoyed a lot of the Black Metal coming out of Switzerland lately, so I was eager to find more music from that region.

For some reason Totenheer strikes me as a rather young band and that goes for their members too. I have no idea how old they are or how long they've been working in the Black Metal scene. However, "Wüetisheer", comes off as an album that is a great collection of influences. It is, by no means an amateur release, so don't get that impression. This sounds like a solid and professional piece of Black Metal. The songwriting just feels young, as in they are sticking with very tried and true methods to craft their songs. There's nothing that really hooks me in other than the initial reaction of "these guys sound pretty good." The songwriting has moments where they are very good, but I think the project still needs more development before they really harness their own sound. I would really like to see them do more of the atmospheric elements on "Pest Prättigau 1629" on future developments. They sound immensely haunting and have a very different feel when combined with their music. Despite the fact that has certainly been done before, it came off as a different aesthetic.

In the end I think Totenheer are in a class of very talented musicians who are learning how to mesh all their influences into one cohesive slab of immense Black Metal. They suffer from almost having too many influences, which is something I notice is very common with new bands these days. There is a lot of great Metal out there... but trying to touch on it all can give a song a bit of a disjointed feel because you are pulling the listener in too many directions at once. To Totenheer's credit they've managed to put all this together in a much more seamless fashion than other new artists I've come across. I'm definitely interested in what Totenheer produce as a follow-up to this release because it sounds like they have a lot of great potential.


Eismalsott


Eismalsott - Weißblendun
Self-Released, 2014
Genre: Black Metal

1. Zweifel
2. Sternleite/Tiefenrausch
3. Weißblendung/Titus Oates











After a solid ten years Alboin and Ainvar have resurrected the Eismalsott project. A lot has changed in his main project and they have to change their name entirely to just Eïs, because of a copyright problem with the name Geïst. Given how incredible Eïs has been sounding, I immediately purchased a copy of the new Eismalsott piece. It comes in a digi-pak release and, unfortunately, a CDr rather than a pro-printed CD, and is limited to 293 copies.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this release. I just didn't know how much they would try to harness the early days of the project or if they would forge new terrain given their experience in the Black Metal scene that has been building over the past decade. I really think they have, I feel that "Weißblendung" is a far more focused release than the attempt at making all kinds of varied elements to a song. This feels a lot more cohesive and I can easily get lost in the chilling cold of the atmosphere that Eismalsott is harnessing this time around. I think they've dropped off some of the typical melodic elements in favor of more chilling lead sections. Just listen to the soaring and majestic piece that closes "Sternleite/Tiefenrusch". The influences of this project are fairly clear and at times this comes off as an updated "Nattens Madrigal" from Ulver, with far more listenable production. The only thing I really miss from the early incarnations of Eismalsott are those wonderful acoustic/clean guitar passages they had. I don't really miss the opener of "Laub", but there are other parts of that song that are very beautiful and would fit within this chilling atmosphere quite perfectly.

The only really bad part of this release is that it is not a full-length. I feel like I wanted to spend more time immersed in their new sound. Unless, of course, this is a teaser for an imminent full-length, in which case I am more than happy to wait. I really like the new direction of the project and I would like to see them push the envelope in the atmospheric direction a little more at times. If they could somehow blend what they're doing with, say, Paysage d'Hiver, I think we would have a truly chilling and interesting release on our hands. Just wishful thinking I'm sure... anyway, the latest from Eismalsott is definitely worth checking out.


Eismalsott - Best Before Spring
Northern Silence Productions, 2004
Genre: Melodic Black Metal

1. Laub
2. Alle Unter dem Himmel














I've, unfortunately, missed out on the 20002 demo "Snow White" from Eismalsott, but I was able to track down this EP recorded in 2004. The real reason I wound up tracking this down is because I am a fan of Geïst. Apparently the debut for Eismalsott was supposed to be "Patina", but instead that was released under the name of Geïst, which has formed into quite an amazing project as well over the years. So, I was pretty curious about the original incarnation of the project I've come to enjoy quite a bit. This is pressed on 7" vinyl and is limited to 499 copies of which I own #408? Or possibly #403... the handwriting is hard to read.

Eismalsott is listed as experimental Black Metal... but I'm not sure it's all that experimental. It has some strange moments. The entire opening for "Laub" is not at all a typical intro for a Black Metal release. But Eismalsott is mostly a Black Metal band with a lot of melody behind their work and thus I think they are more akin to Melodic Black Metal. The other pieces of "experiment" might come with the inclusion of some strange ambiance, but this is nothing too different from what other bands have done before. While "Best Before: Spring" is a solid Melodic work, I think what they transformed into next was even more incredible. Eismalsott is some solid Black Metal if you can get beyond some of the weirder experimental pieces... that don't seem to fit as well amidst the blasting Black Metal sections. Still we have some solid musicianship being performed and parts that are exceptionally well written... if I had heard this back in 2004 originally I would have been looking forward to "Patina" quite a bit to see if they could push their writing prowess even deeper.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

War (Pol)


War - Insanity of Faith
Under the Sign of Garazel Productions, 2007
Genre: Black Metal

1. Undivine Plan
2. Possession
3. Path of the Truth
4. Advocatus Diaboli
5. Witch










2007 brings us a wonderful release and some sad news. While we certainly have a new and excellent album from War, this is also to be their final musical output. After this the band would break-up and their musicians would do other things with their lives. As usual with the Garazel releases this is limited to 1,000 hand-numbered copies and I own #115. A major difference is this time we get a full booklet with all the lyrics and everything. A truly wonderful way to end the art.

It's interesting to see this project come into existence in the early 90's, disappear for years then resurface for a very productive engagement for a few years only to disappear again. Luckily they have left us with some truly excellent music to enjoy, which will, no doubt, stand the test of time. "Insanity of Faith" basically continues where "Holy War" has left off. It his a similar approach with the songs being very long and the riffing meandering between bouts of intensity and more melancholic passages. The album eventually closes out with the immense "Witch" which clocks in at nearly twelve minutes in length. This is really a spectacular closing to a wonderful journey.

If you have liked what War has been producing over the years, then you're unlikely to be disappointed with this release too. Its sad to see there will not be a follow-up for this album. However, given the fact that the projects life has been intermittent maybe someday it will be resurrected for an even more updated approach. I feel like the message for this album is a lot more mature as well and is aptly shown on the inner sleeve behind the CD: "Beware of Men who claim they possessed the truth..."

Dark Fury/White Devils/War - Alliance in Hate
Garazel Productions/Flagellum Haereticorum Records, 2006
Genre: Black Metal

Dark Fury:
1. 'Till Death
2. We are...
3. In Our Hands
4. No Tolerance
5. Nightly Gloom
6. One of Us
White Devils:
7. Podbój
8. Europejski Koszmar
9. Zwycięstwo Lub Śmierć
10. Nowy Ład
11. Przemoc I Siła
War:
12. Prophecy of a Fallen Angel
13. Faust's Vision
14. Old Prey
15. Presence of Evil

Side Dark Fury: here
Side White Devils: ...coming eventually...
Side War:

War has been going through a very productive stage in their career and here they have even more material for us just a year later. Here they split with another immense Polish band Dark Fury and a new project called White Devils. As with the prior releases this album is limited to 1,000 hand-numbered copies and I own #653.

Given how closely written the material is written, this is more of a continuation of the material we found on "Ex Tenebris..." and "Holy War". So if you've been enjoying what War has had to offer so far, then the split material will happily continue this for you. They do experiment with layered vocals a bit more with songs like "Faust's Vision". Unfortunately, as with some of the Behemoth Death Metal albums, the vocal layering just dominates the mix and you really can't hear the music very well anymore. Aside from that "Faust's Vision" is nearly flawless and one of the better songs composed by War, in general. The four tracks definitely keep up with this and parts of "Old Prey" have a more spacey feel at times, which is a really interesting change of pace for the band. But it still really works with their sound, so I wouldn't mind hearing more of that in their future releases.


War - Holy War
Under the Sign of Garazel Productions, 2005
Genre: Black Metal

1. Holy War
2. My Funeral
3. Strength & Honor
4. Dogs of War
5. My Faith










After just one year War return with another full length on the same label. Like the last album it comes in limited quantities. This time it is limited to 999 hand-numbered copies and I own #951. There's a bit more to look at with this album too and here we get a fold-out booklet that features lyrics for more than one song at least. They don't share all the lyrics with us, but they do share some, at least.

"Holy War" seems to be highly inspired by the apparent rise of extremist Islam against the world. A lot of Black Metal bands are taking note of this and many are shifting from hatred of Christianity to fight against Islam as more of a focus. A couple years before "Holy War" was released Lord Belial put out their controversial song "Purify Sweden". Some bands take this new focus as an inspiration to reject all religions as dangerous and worth fighting against. I'm more strictly in this camp. The racist groups seem to take this as a clear race war since Islam is predominantly out of the Middle East... but I feel like that's a somewhat foolish take because damaging religions like Christianity, although spawned in the Middle East, have grown beyond and are all over Europe. However, there's no denying the hatred many feel towards the extremist adherents post 9/11, which has really given Black Metal art a boost in the direction of "see what happens when you have religion".

The concept aside, the music on this album is very excellent. Its definitely along the lines of "Ex Tenebris Nasceris ut Deleas", but given their playing around with track length on this release, its a much more epic experience all around. The epic nature puts it on par with "Ex Tenebris" because War has had to write riffs in a particular way that they are interesting over quite a bit of repetition. Luckily they're good enough writers to have succeeded in this goal. I feel like the vocal arrangements are a lot more dynamic than the prior album as well. He really shifts between a more mid-range growl and at times hits some of the higher range elements we first experienced on "Age of Unbelieve". This is really how a great vocal arrangement works out.

In the end this is another excellent release from this band. I wish War was more of a household name in the Black Metal scene, alas I do not hear them referenced very often despite a strong discography. If you really enjoyed "Ex Tenebris" then "Holy War" is certainly worth hearing as well. "Ex Tenebris" might be a little stronger in the end, but it is not that much stronger than this.

War - Ex Tenebris Nasceris ut Deleas
Under the Sign of Garazel Productions, 2004
Genre: Black Metla

1. Empty World
2. Night Cold
3. The Days of Tyrants
4. Sigillum Diabolicum
5. For the Truth and Ideals
6. The Black Flame








Here we have War's first official release. The debut with an amazing label Under the Sign of Garazel and this is exactly the type of label to get War's name out there into the underground. This album is definitely a new evolution for the War sound and is quite different compare to "Dawn of New Epoch". Like many of the earlier Garazel releases this album is limited to 500 hand-numbered copies and I happen to own #150.

"Ex Tenebris Nasceris ut Deleas" is really a monumental album for War. Its so much more vicious than anything they've ever produced before. Not to mention the whole middle section of "The Days of Tyrants" is so incredibly dark it really transcends a lot of the other material they've ever written. It sounds like War has been keeping up with the likes of Arkona over the years and has included a lot more blasting and intense sections in their writing. They still retain sections that are almost purely majestic as well like in "For the Truth and Ideals", which has some truly awe inspiring sections. War has really given us a truly special release and it is a shame it is limited to so few and I fear this material will be lost over the years. I am glad I was able to get an original copy of this release to share with everyone.

In the end I wasn't expecting this kind of release given what I had heard from "Dawn of New Epoch". I think this new direction is even better for War and seems to fit their name a little better than before. Its intense, vicious, and still epic all at once. I also like that they haven't fallen into the modern methods of having over produced Black Metal, so there's still a very organic feel and approach to their music. This time the writing just feels a lot more mature though and I really look forward to what they will have in the future, especially if they're going to continue in this direction.

War - Dawn of New Epoch
Self-Released, 2002
Genre: Black Metal

1. The Revenge
2. Hate Must Go On
3. New Time Will Come
4. The Unknown
5. Last Attack
6. Illusion of Life
7. Dawn of New Epoch
8. Fog
9. Dark Land







After a nearly ten year wait, War returns with their debut full-length. They bring is all new material, but it doesn't seem that much has changed over the years. Naturally, the recording quality is far superior to their demo days, especially that of "Age of Unbelieve". War seem rooted in the simplicity of the early 90's, which is really interesting to listen to in the more modern times, because it feels like this project has simply been well preserved over the years. I do wonder if these are songs written sometime after "Age of Unbelieve", but the band was never able to really bring them to the light of day until now. The original version of this album was never supposed to exist either and only a few CDr's were sent to
friends of the band. This leads me to the edition I own which is the 2007 re-release which also comes with "The War Horde" making this really worth having in the context of the bands history. Unfortunately, in this re-edition one of the songs "Illusion of Life" has been left off and I'm not sure why that is.

Either way, I am glad to have this release in whatever form I could find it. The material presented on here is definitely worth hearing historically and just because its really solid Black Metal. At times the material comes more with a modern element of melancholy that seems to have grown out of the original Burzum style of the early days. War do a great job at including this element into their sound, which gives this release a bit more of a modern flair amidst all the older sounding material. I am happy to see that the bass work still manages to stand out quite a bit from time to time like the early days of "The War Horde". The vocals have settled into a sort of mid-range growl, which gives the album more attack than some of the prior material, but works pretty well for the project.

It's nice to see this project get resurrected. I'm glad to see that their debut and their ability to perform Black Metal is just as strong as ever. A lot of times you wonder how drastically the musicians have changed over the years with all the different kinds of influences that can exist out there. With War, the answer is they haven't changed all that much from the days of 1994. I hope their return to Black Metal is not as brief as their demo days.

War - The Age of Unbelieve
Self-Released, 1994
Genre: Black Metal

1. Age of Unbelieve
2. ...of Hell
3. War and Hate
4. The Winds are Calling
5. Dark Sacrifice
6. Desecrator
7. Born of Fear




The second demo from War, also released in the highly productive year 1994. As with the last tape, I also do not own a copy of this one, but I do own the re-release of the material on CD from 2011 and limited to 300 copies. Unfortunately the album title has been misprinted and there were other serious problems with this release, which seem to make this rather difficult to find. I'm surprised this just didn't get tagged onto a future full-length because this demo is only about fourteen minutes long. On the other hand... the recording quality is actually very poor compared to The War Horde, so I can see why the band wasn't interested in releasing this material very much.

Even though this recording has been remastered, there's just no way to salvage the poor quality when its recorded in this fashion. Unlike "The War Horde" the raw recording quality kind of takes away from the recording, because it is bathed in a level of static that makes it challenging to follow what is happening. It seems like the writing is certainly on par with "The War Horde", so it is a shame that the recording could not be salvaged in the same way the first demo was. The vocal performance is also strikingly different from the debut release. Here the vocals are presented in a more typical Black Metal fashion with a harsh rasp rather than the more high pitched wail of before.

In the end, this demo is more well written than "The War Horde", but the production really is a massive barrier from letting us see that. It is an unfortunate aspect of this release and I really wish it could have been better preserved over the years. After this the band would take quite an incredible hiatus. Despite being formed in the early days of the Polish scene we won't hear from them again until 2002 when the project seems to get resurrected.

 War - The War Horde
Self-Released, 1994
Genre: Black Metal

1. The Witches
2. Age of War
3. Eclipse
4. Deadspeak
5. Fog
6. In the Fire
7. Dreams About a Fear
8. This Dark Land it's Mine








Listed as their first demo, but with eight tracks this is practically a debut full-length. Unfortunately, it only clocks in at around twenty-five minutes, so the songs are quite short on average. It is strange that a band has arisen in the music scene with this name. It's a great name for a Black Metal band, but there is already a very well known band from the 70's with this same name. More unfortunately, I was never able to track down this original demo tape. So, for the purposes of this review I am working with the re-released recordings published in 2007 with "Dawn of a New Epoch".

It's sort of incredible that War isn't a more well known project given how early this band started out. "The War Horde" is also heavily rooted in the ways of the early 90's Black Metal, so fans of bands like Arkona should be looking into this demo. Despite being in the early class of the genre, War write some fairly compelling music. "Eclipse" has some awesome blend of Emperor and Darkthrone styled together. Its the type of old recording where the harshness actually adds to the music rather than takes away, especially with the thunderous bass shining through in sections. The vocals are fairly low in the mix, but that's alright because it appears they follow in the footsteps of Burzum's higher shrieks. With this vocal style low in the mix it never really overwhelms the music, which I see happen all too often with this approach.

This is a very promising debut recording. Perhaps the track lengths are on the short side, but they perform at a particular level that is very well done. This is definitely a band to be watching over the years with a debut that is fairly strong.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Dark Fury


Dark Fury - Synningthwait
Lower Silesian Stronghold, 2014
Genre: Black Metal

1. Sceadugenga
2. Kiedy Nadlatują Kruki
3. Zmierzch Świata
4. Gdy Ginie Znienawidzony Wróg
5. Thunreasleam
6. Jad










Ever since "Synningthwait" hit the metal scene, I've seen a large number of people raving about this release. I've never seen such excitement over a Dark Fury album, despite having released a large amount of solid material over the years. So, I was looking forward to hearing this and wondering if they've actually managed to outdo "Saligia".

Dark Fury really don't disappoint at all on this release. It's an even more mature approach to the "Saligia" sound and for that reason I can see why it's getting the relative acclaim it is getting. The drum production feels really different on here too... it feels a lot more organic and much less of that triggered feel. It really gives the album a different and great dynamic to it. The focus is so heavy on the more haunting and somber riffing that there aren't many blasting sections to be heard on the album at all. I think this album actually manages to outdo "Salgia" in the great scheme of things. "Synningthwait" sounds a lot more full, to me, when compared to a lot of the prior releases if that makes sense. All the compositional elements are really rounded out to perfection more so than before.

Another interesting aspect of this release is in the liner notes of the booklet. It says "album concept based on the novel of Bernard Cornwell"... which is a little confusing since it doesn't reference the novel at all. Bernard Cornwell has over forty books published... unless there is more than just the well known English author out there? Either way, this is a spectacular release and it is definitely a must by for the year. Now Dark Fury have set the bar higher for themselves yet again!


Dark Fury - Semper Fidelis
Lower Silesian Stronghold, 2013
Genre: Black Metal

1. From the Darkside of Life
2. War Against Christianity
3. Shadows in the Moonlight
4. Youngblood
5. A Blaze of Hatred
6. Wrath
7. Undead
8. Werewolf
9. On a Foggy Mourning
10. Pain
11. Last Way
12. Call of My Ancestores
13. A Gift
14. Behind the Bars
15. The Path
16. A Blaze of Hatred (Rehearsal 2000)
17. Beyond the Gate (Rehearsal 2005)
18. The Song of Treading Death (Rehearsal 2011)
19. Endless War

Keeping up with wanting to release something every year, we get "Semper Fidelis", which is an extremely good compilation from Dark Fury. Basically if you've missed out on all the demo material it is re-released here. It even has the material from the first split with Ohtar. After that is released a lot of material that has been recorded over the years but has never been published. "Behind the Bars", "The Path", and "Endless War" are all studio songs that have never been released. I really like these because the drums sound a lot more organic than the previous Dark Fury recordings. I'm just surprised there is any unreleased studio material at all. The rehearsal tracks are interesting in the sense that we get to hear the music at the early stages. They're, naturally, quite harsh recordings, but they're recorded well enough that we get to hear what's going on. So, if you're a fan of Dark Fury and missed out on the early days of the band, then this is probably worth the collector quality.

Dark Fury/Evil/Pagan Hellfire - We Know how to Hate
Lower Silesian Stronghold/Hammer of Damantion, 2012
Genre: Black Metal

Dark Fury:
1. The Finger of Death
2. The Seed of Ultimate Cleansing
3. The Reaper of Human Flesh
4. Warrior Spirit un-Dead
Evil:
5. Awake the Beast of Yaweh!
6. Blessing of Burning Fire
7. Grave of the Unborn
8. Gates to Redemption
9. We Bring Your Death!
Pagan Hellfire:
10. The Root of Dormant Pestilence
11. Allegiance and Betrayal
12. Hate is as Strong as Death

Side Evil: ...coming eventually...
Side Pagan Hellfire: ...coming eventually...
Side Dark Fury:

After the rapid change in Dark Fury, I was curious to see if that writing style would find its way into their split releases, or would they default to their earlier style of writing to create that brief intensity they could generate. In the end I think it's a sort of blending of the styles. The only real complaint I have about the release is the vocals are a little too loud in the mix, but that's it.

The few tracks that Dark Fury submit to this release are extremely intense."The Finger of Death" is a violent blasting outburst, but amidst it are moments of a brooding and dark nature, which creates a really interesting atmosphere to behold. So they're sort of blending the earlier approaches with the new it seems. A new compositional element does show up in "The Seed of Ultimate Cleansing" when a very dark middle section is developed through a clean guitar element. This is something that the band rarely used in prior recordings, if at all from what I remember. It seems it worked so well in this track they used it again in another right after and it worked great there too!

In the end I do like seeing Dark Fury trying to grow within the new approach. It seems like they're still doing the whole method of writing a lot of material and tweaking things little by little with each release. It's not a bad method, because we get to stay in a particular sound for a while and just enjoy a lot of material written in the original way until it morphs into something very different.

Dark Fury - W.A.R.
Lower Silesian Stronghold, 2012
Genre: Black Metal

1. Steel Centurion
2. W.A.R.
3. The Cleansing
4. Prepare for War
5. The Storm
6. The Plague










This is the first time we've had to wait more than a year between releases of Dark Fury material. So, I'm extremely curious to see what has been crafted over such a long time frame. I think Dark Fury realized they created something really special with "Saligia" and really needed to focus on how to craft songs that might live up to future expectations.

Dark Fury definitely try to live up to the expectations post "Saligia" and they do a pretty good job of it with "W.A.R." I do think that "Saligia" is a little bit better... I think I found that album more memorable, which makes it stand out a bit more. "W.A.R." goes down a very haunting and brooding path, just listen to the title track. They are also experimenting with track length because the opening track clocks in at over eight minutes. This is a far cry from the early days when songs were only about three minutes long! Interestingly we still get about the same length of music with the album only being a little over half-hour in length. "W.A.R." is still a solid album with lots of great moments, both haunting and intense.

I'm definitely glad Dark Fury has opted to hold out a year to attempt writing something that is, at least, up there in quality to "Saligia". It's definitely a much better option than cranking out albums hoping you can write as well as you did to the prior. I definitely like seeing the extra layer of thought put into the compositions and it makes for an even more solid experience.


Dark Fury - Saligia
Lower Silesian Stronghold, 2010
Genre: Black Metal

1. Superbia
2. Avaritia
3. Luxuria
4. Invidia
5. Gula
6. Ira
7. Acedia









As usual we get another release from Dark Fury this year... the sheer volume of music this band creates is incredible to me sometimes. While I have enjoyed all of their releases so far, there hasn't been that much variation in their style of music. Suddenly "Saligia" comes along to change the game entirely for us. The songs are no longer around three minutes in length, they're now between four and five. With this extra length we get a new breadth of style from Dark Fury, one that I feel is extremely good.

From the first note struck you can tell that this will be a very different experience. You are going to be pulled into an atmosphere that is unlike anything Dark Fury has ever done before. Things go deeper and darker than they have ever done before. "Saligia" is less focused on the usual attack and intensity, rather it is about building a contemplative atmosphere to get lost in this music. This has such a great collection of riffs that I really count this as one of Dark Fury's absolute best releases, not just because it is quite different. Dark Fury has really harnessed their ability to write on this ability to create quite the intoxicating experience.

This is also one of the first times Dark Fury has printed their lyrics. Here some politics comes into the mix, but I wouldn't exactly call it National Socialism... lyrically they stick to criticism of the Christians involvment in their government. This really is a huge problem in Poland, since they've managed to get Blasphemy Laws on the books. Nergal of Behemoth has been in and out of court defending the fact that he destroyed a Holy Bible in concert. I will say I certainly agree with Dark Fury's criticism up to a point and they give us a huge statement in the center of the booklet:

"We do not recognize the notion of sin, as coined by the priests of a jewish deity in order to intimidate the ignorant christian mob; to impose upon the ignorant masses a set of rules allowing for an easier control over them as well as making possible an effective intimidation with the illusory devil and hell, which are to await the christians guilty of those terrible crimes - sins. The question of refraining from sinning by the 'sheep' and the 'shepherds' is laughable, as the latter seem to believe in christian hell and christian heaven as strongly as I do... While listening to this album, mock the hypocrisy of all christians both the priests and the 'faithful'. To sum up I wish to quote one of my friends: 'So without wrath, with scorn only, I spit in your face you christian swine!' To Racial War!"

So he has me up until the very last line "to racial war". I feel like this is utterly frivolous and really has nothing to do with criticism of Christianity. The entire point of that religion is that the gentiles can convert to it and salvation is for everyone not just the Jewish people. This is, naturally, a solid tactic for taking control of all kinds of regions of Europe and that is exactly what was done. Poland having laws against offending Christianity is a direct result of this, but this is nothing to do with "race", so I have no idea where that comes from. It just makes it sound like they have gravely misunderstood the entire point of Christianity.

Either way, in the end this album is really quite spectacular. It has dark immersive riffs and intense blasting sections per usual Dark Fury style.  I think this is one of Dark Fury's shining moments and it will be interesting to see what they attempt to do in the future. Will they attempt to top this release? Or will they realize they've created something extraordinarily special and leave this as the monument to their writing that it is? Whatever comes, I am certainly looking forward to what's next from this project.


Ohtar & Dark Fury Split II
True Underground Productions, 2009
Genre: Black Metal

Ohtar: Necrohate
1. Reconciled (The Whiteness)
2. (Un)fulfillment
3. Infertia (The Yearning)
4. Outro
Dark Fury: Auri Sacra Fames
5. Auri Sacra Fames (The Cursed Lust for Gold)
6. The Wrath
7. The Crimson Fog
8. How Stupid Must One Be?
9. The Bloodied Mud (Your Damned Order)




Side Ohtar: ...coming eventually...
Side Dark Fury:

Despite this split coming on the heals of "The Price of Treason" Dark Fury have added some fairly different sounding elements into their music. The music feels a lot more fleshed out an epic in terms of its writing. The opening track "Auri Sacra Fames" is simply haunting and gorgeous all at once! There's just this extra layer of essence in the songs that was only hinted at in prior recordings. I really hope Dark Fury continues down this line of writing a little longer because it creates and exceptional atmosphere in their music. Sure, the tried and true Dark Fury style is ever present, but we have this slightly more interesting take this time around. Definitely worth getting!

Dark Fury - The Price of Treason
True Underground Productions, 2009
Genre: Black Metal

1. Symbols of Race
2. The Killer of Your Blood
3. In Front of Firing Squad
4. On the Way You Pass
5. The Pain of Purification
6. The Unyielding
7. Seven Candles
8. Storm!
9. The Vermin of Our Times
10. The Song of Treading Death
11. The Taste of Past Days
12. The Price of Treason



Following up "Fortress of Eagles" we find "The Price of Treason" changing from the usual release label of Under the Sign of Garazel. Luckily not much has changed in terms of packaging and design. If anything things can only be improved in this department. While the album covers have always been quite excellent, Dark Fury has never been much interested in having a booklet to look through for their music.

As we can expect, not much has changed on the Dark Fury front. The entire length of the album is a little more robust this time around with the album clocking in at nearly forty-five minutes, which is a more typical running time for an album. One the things I think about "The Price of Treason" that sets it apart in the discography is that it's probably the fastest Dark Fury album to date. They really blast through the songs and its, in general, far more intense than the prior releases. The vocal work tries to attain more of the that vicious high range to complement the more intense music. It never truly gets there, but it is nice to hear the vocals try to be more dynamic in their own right.

By this point you should know what to expect from the likes of Dark Fury. If you've been following this band this long you know what "The Price of  Treason" essentially sounds like... you also can bet that it sounds pretty good.


Dark Fury - Fortress of Eagles
Under the Sign of Garazel, 2008
Genre: Black Metal

1. Brotherhood of Hypocrisy
2. Nightmare
3. Memories
4. Wojenny Krzyk
5. Fortress of Eagles
6. Privilege of Power
7. Scream of Hatred
8. Sowers of Lie
9. Demons of the Past
10. War and Pain!






Another year another Dark Fury installment. "Fortress of Eagles" continues the journey from "Final Solution" almost exactly. I really love the title of this album for some reason, it evokes such a different imagery and the cover really backs up that impression in some ways. Again we have some more slight changes in the mix. This time there are backing vocalists involved with the project adding high end screams into the mix. I must say these elements sound excellent their music. The main reason Dark Fury doesn't feel like an intense attack, is simply because the vocal performance doesn't have that same kind of attack quality other Black Metal bands have. "Fortress of Eagles" touches upon the idea that Dark Fury could easily have this quality in their music if someone else simply took over vocal efforts. Since Dark Fury's traditional vocal style is so rooted in the Rob Darken method, it makes me wonder what Graveland would sound like if they got a real good screamer behind a microphone for parts of their songs.

It appears Dark Fury are fairly locked into a very particular sound with their music at this point in time, so all we can do is sit back and enjoy. Sure this all sounds like the same stuff, but the adherence to a quality performance is being met with every track. There really aren't any other projects around that sound exactly like this, so I'm going to enjoy this for what it is. A well written Black Metal album and I'm not going to waste my time complaining of the lack of variation. As I am usually wont to say, if it's not broken don't fix it.


Dark Fury - Final Solution
Under the Sign of Garazel, 2007
Genre: Black Metal

1. Profanacja
2. Challenge
3. We Will Remember
4. Chaos
5. We're Going to War
6. Flame of Ancestores
7. Final Solution
8. Forgotten Path
9. End of Lies!
10. Fatherland
11. Heritage of Blood





Ever since Dark Fury's material took a turn for the more immense with "Slavonic Thunder" things haven't changed too much in their camp. "Final Solution" doesn't deviate too much from that theme. The title of the album conjures extreme measures, no doubt inspired by the genocidal actions of the Third Reich. However, I, honestly, get the impression from Dark Fury that instead of leveling the hatred towards only one group... I feel like they are a little more liberal in their hatred and point it towards all of humanity. I realize they may sing about White Pride from time to time, but then they'll make statements to how pathetic humanity is. Either way... if you liked "Slavonic Thunder" then there's no reason why you wouldn't also like this album.

"Final Solution" draws a more darker edge which is similar to what we heard on the "Alliance in Hate" split. The vocals are a little low in the mix this time around, but that doesn't bother me too much because their vocal work has never been anything totally stellar. Actually, with it at this level of the mix it lets the musicianship really shine through and we can really bask in how powerful a lot of the guitar passages are.

There actually isn't too much to add to this review beyond what is already written. The songwriting is slightly improved over prior releases though, so I will not complain about that, at all. With every release Dark Fury seems to improve, regardless of how small of the change. At least they are on an upward trend.


Dark Fury/White Devils/War - Alliance in Hate
Garazel Productions/Flagellum Haereticorum Records, 2006
Genre: Black Metal

Dark Fury:
1. 'Till Death
2. We are...
3. In Our Hands
4. No Tolerance
5. Nightly Gloom
6. One of Us
White Devils:
7. Podbój
8. Europejski Koszmar
9. Zwycięstwo Lub Śmierć
10. Nowy Ład
11. Przemoc I Siła
War:
12. Prophecy of a Fallen Angel
13. Faust's Vision
14. Old Prey
15. Presence of Evil

Side White Devils: ...coming eventually...
Side War: here
Side Dark Fury:

It looks like splits are going to be a very frequent occurrence amidst the Dark Fury discography, given how frequently they've been showing up already. For this one six new tracks are submitted, which is an incredible of music when you think about it, in such a short amount of time after a full-length. Dark Fury must be constantly writing and working on material to keep up this seemingly constant rate of writing. This split is limited to 1,000 hand-numbered copies and I own #653.

It sort of goes without saying, but if you liked "Slavonic Thunder" not much has changed in the Dark Fury camp. This is really a continuation of the ideas found on that great release. "Till Death" opens with some spectacular riffing that is soaring and intense all at once. This theme is generally kept up throughout all six tracks. I think they manage to have some more haunting moments than some of the earlier works, like in "Nightly Gloom", but this is a welcome addition to the Dark Fury sound. It gives the powerful sections a more sinister setting in which to work. An excellent continuation of "Slavonic Thunder's" approach.

Dark Fury - Slavonic Thunder
Elegy Records, 2005
Genre: Black Metal

1. Intro
2. My Land
3. Heroes of the Past
4. Born White
5. For Blood and Honour
6. Slavonic Thunder
7. Dark Fury
8. Our Domination
9. Betrayers Among Us
10. I'll never Believe
11. Outro





After hearing "Vae Victis!" I had rather high hopes for the follow-up album "Slavonic Thunder" and none of my hopes were misplaced! While "Vae Victis" was a little more moody in many of its sections "Slavonic Thunder" is a vicious attack. I wasn't expecting this kind of forceful approach musically, especially after the split with Ohtar, but it really shows through in the compositions. Just listen to how "For Blood and Honour" kicks off. Very intense. This time Elegy printed a full booklet for Dark Fury complete with lyrics and everything. However, only one song is written in English "For Blood and Honour".

The white pride is sort of overflowing on this release. They have lines in the lyrics like "I am proud of my heritage. White skin and high culture." Then they have track titles like "Born White", which comes off as sort of ridiculous sounding in some ways. The thing is, I do think they realize no one can help where they're born and to a degree I understand people being proud of their heritage, not just these white guys. The real issue is that this often gets labeled in conjunction with Nazism... yet I don't see any hints of politics on this release. Just your run of the mill racism coupled with being proud of your heritage. I think Dark Fury sees Christianity as an invading force to Poland and they're on the defensive to preserve their culture and protect their peoples. At least that's the impression I'm getting from the music here, especially with tracks like "My Land". I am not trying to justify any racism, I am merely trying to explain what I think their point of view is, which influences their music, and why I don't think it is a clear cut case this is Nazism. You can certainly be a racist and not be a Nazi... you can even be a white supremacist and not be a Nazi. What you can't be is a Nazi who is not a white supremacist. People get way too confused about how these statements work. I will never really understand a pro-Nazi attitude in Poland anyway, I've read "Mein Kampf" and Hitler did not think favorably of the Slavonic people. So, for Dark Fury to take pride in their "Slavonic Thunder" and then tout the tenets of Nazism seems confusing to me...

Okay, content disclaimer discussed. "Slavonic Thunder" is a massive step in the right direction for Dark Fury. The guitar layers are intoxicating this time around. Before they were just good, but this time the interplay between the guitars is superb and really evokes a much more powerful atmosphere. The low growling vocals add a very different feel to the music. Granted they're never as low as what Hate Forest produced, but it adds a slightly different feel to the music. I think there is some healthy influence from the likes of Hate Forest in Dark Fury's approach, since the music is a bit heavier than before and the guitar tone is also much thicker. It creates a tight and dense atmosphere to get lost in.

Unfortunately, this album is over before you know it. It's only around thirty minutes in length, so its a far cry from the epic Black Metal creators over in the Ukraine. It feels like Dark Fury really whips through the nine new Black Metal songs, but it is an incredible ride all the way. I quite enjoy "Slavonic Thunder" a lot more than "Vae Victis!"... so if you did enjoy the debut album, I imagine you will really love this one a lot more.


Ohtar & Dark Fury Split
Blutreinheite Productions, 2005
Genre: Black Metal

Ohtar: Shall I Never Drink the Fulfillment...?
1. Survive to be Reborn
2. Shall I Never Drink the Fulfillment...?
3. Savior, Have You Suffered?
4. Autumnal
Dark Fury: We are the Only Gods
5. Pain
6. Beyond the Gate
7. We are the Only Gods
8. Last Way
9. The New Generation
10. Call of My Ancestores


Side Ohtar: ...coming eventually...
Side Dark Fury:

I'm actually not to sure which was released first, this split with Ohtar or "Slavonic Thunder", but since the material on the split was recorded first, I'm going to list this as being next in line after "Vae Victis!" I was looking forward to some new material after "Vae Victis" and they've started progressing the style founded on there a little bit more. Dark Fury has certainly come a long way since their very first demo.

Even though this comes after the release of the debut full-length, the material on this split still sounds a lot more raw than the debut. I wonder if Dark Fury was just trying out some new material and decided to record some interim material to see how it would turn out. The material on here seems a lot more somber and far more developed than on "Vae Victis!" Just listen to "Last Way" and you'll hear a lot more melancholic style to the riffing, which deviates from the attack style that Dark Fury has been able to wield in many of their recordings. The material on here is actually extremely well done, I really just wish that it was recorded with a little bit better production. I think then they would be able to harness the real power behind these compositions. With tracks like "The New Generation" you can tell he's experimenting with a lot more lead guitar layering in the music to create a far more melancholic mood to the music. Perhaps it was this kind of experimentation that prompted the creation of Thoth a couple years after this split.

If you enjoyed "Vae Victis!" then I would be surprised if you did not enjoy this as well. There is some really stellar material and riffs on this split. Furthermore you get Ohtar material on top of just more Dark Fury, so this is a real win win.

Dark Fury - Vae Victis!
Elegy Records, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

1. Introduction
2. Violence and Pain
3. Wrath
4. Mystery
5. Revenge
6. Vae Victis!
7. Slavonic Pride
8. Aryan Glory
9. Werewolf
10. Unknown God
11. Epilogue





We've finally made it to Dark Fury's debut album and it being released under the banner of the mighty Elegy I had high hopes for this. Frankly, prior to this Dark Fury's material has been such a mixture of good and bad material that anything could have happened with this release.

Since "Vae Victis!" is so close to the release of "Carnivore" I was hoping the guitar work would be on part with that release. I am pleased to report that this is exactly how the guitar work is modeled. The vocal work is much improved too, rather than being a strange low rumbling it actually has some more standard Black Metal flair to it. There is still some clear influence in trying to model the vocals after Rob Darken though, but I think Dark Fury's music doesn't lend itself to Darken's usual slow plodding style. Instead Dark Fury should have a more intense voice at times, which it does manage to do. The guitar compositions is where this stuff really shines though. It has this majestic yet very powerful feel to the music. At times it is just dark and vicious, but it still maintains some heavy influence from a more modern Graveland style.

If you listen to Graveland and wished they had more raging and vicious sounding sections at time Dark Fury is a band you simply must check out. "Vae Victis!" takes the Graveland style and pushes it into different areas, since Dark Fury is not trying to evoke the feeling of majesty through Pagan Black Metal. Instead Dark Fury stays in the more traditional realms, but with a dose of Graveland to their attack. An excellent debut and I look forward to hearing what the projects future brings.


Dark Fury - Carnivore
Self-Released, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

1. Wrath
2. Undead
3. Werewolf
4. On a Foggy Mourning












Its been quite a while since we've heard from Dark Fury at this point. Four years after the split we finally get some new material. The strange part is it was apparently supposed to be released under the name Thor's Hammer... which is probably why this sounds so different from the material on the split.

The recording quality has certainly increased over the past four years. They are either using a drum program or heavily triggered drums, which don't make up for the awesome harshness of the split material. The vocals are entirely different this time around. They're very strange and are just these sort of low growls over the music. I'm not sure how much this approach really works, to be honest. The guitar work is really spectacular though... and that's really the major saving grace for this EP. The guitar work is some really majestic stuff and I really wish this was cast in a more... I want to say typical fashion, because I would prefer the usual Black Metal vocals with real drums. But the vocals are entirely too high in the mix as well, so it kills some of that amazing guitar work. "Carnivore" is an EP that should be magnificent due to ridiculous problems that are easily fixed. I really hope Dark Fury sort out some of these problems for future releases, because they are really on their way to being one of the stronger Black Metal bands around Poland.

Thor's Hammer & Dark Fury Split
Kolovorat Productions, 2000
Genre: Black Metal

Thor's Hammer:
1. May the Hammer Smash the Cross
2. ...in Our Hands Alone
Dark Fury:
3. Youngblood
4. A Blaze of Hatred










Side Thor's Hammer: ...coming eventually...
Side Dark Fury:

After a couple years things have changed quite drastically with Dark Fury. As the new millennium hits they unleash this split cassette with Thor's Hammer, certainly one of the lest Politically Correct projects out there. They've always worn their intense racism out in the open for everyone to see. Perhaps this would stop some people from listening to Dark Fury... but racist or not I do like their music. I also I feel like throughout a lot of the Dark Fury catalog the racism isn't as overwhelming as some other projects I've seen over the years. Instead they focus more on being prideful about who they are.

Either way, the material being shown on this split is really good. Dark Fury are performing with a real drummer now and the music sounds really great. The guitar line opening "A Blaze of Hatred" is really intense and...well... hateful! They've really changed their approach to Black Metal and are working towards writing far more well crafted songs. We still get some serious Graveland influence at parts, but the music is a lot faster and intense compared to what Graveland performs. After hearing these two new tracks I'm quite curious as to how the future of Dark Fury will turn out. If it was just a continuation of "Turning Into Ashes" I may not have been as curious... but with such a drastic change in quality, I want to hear more. Still the music has the ultra raw demo quality to it... so we're not exactly working with a great studio or mix just yet.


Dark Fury - Turning Into Ashes
Self-Released, 1998
Genre: Black Metal

1. From the Darkside of Life
2. War Against Christianity
3. Shadows in the Moonlight













Here begins the long project of reviewing the Dark Fury discography which is quite large by 2014. However, it all began in 1997 with this demo. "Turning Into Ashes" was released on cassette, which I assume is limited to some small quantity. Unfortunately, despite having a lot of demo tapes out of Poland, the Dark Fury material is not in my possession. So I am leveraging the re-released material on the CD "Semper Fidelis" to build a more coherent discography for reviewing.

The early stages of Dark Fury seem to be heavily similar to the early works of Graveland. This probably comes as no surprise because Rob Darken is listed as the engineer on this demo. The drums sound quite programmed though, so it really has a strange feel to it amid the raw production otherwise. The music is extremely raw though and really follows a very general pattern found in Black Metal. This demo is pretty much Graveland worship when Graveland transitioned more into its Black Metal phase, so think more along the lines of "In the Glare of Burning Churches".

It's not a terribly necessary demo to track down and I can see why it is probably overlooked in the history of Black Metal. Dark Fury really haven't hit their stride of really productive releases just yet. These are just the early primitive days and there is certainly more to come in the future.